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The long and winding road to uncertainty: the link between spatial distance and feelings of uncertainty.

Glaser T, Lewandowski J, Düsing J - PLoS ONE (2015)

Bottom Line: The second experiment revealed that a feeling of uncertainty leads to a perception of greater distance.By demonstrating that distance is closely tied to uncertainty, the present research extends previous research on both distance and uncertainty by incorporating previously unexplained findings within CLT.Implications of these findings such as the role of uncertainty within CLT are discussed.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Department of Psychology, University of Bielefeld, Bielefeld, Germany.

ABSTRACT
Construal Level Theory (CLT) [1] defines psychological distance as any object, event, or person that cannot be experienced by the self in the here and now. The goal of the present research was to demonstrate that feelings of uncertainty are closely linked to the concept of psychological distance. Two experiments tested the assumption that spatial distance and uncertainty are bidirectionally related. In the first experiment, we show that perceived spatial distance leads to a feeling of uncertainty. The second experiment revealed that a feeling of uncertainty leads to a perception of greater distance. By demonstrating that distance is closely tied to uncertainty, the present research extends previous research on both distance and uncertainty by incorporating previously unexplained findings within CLT. Implications of these findings such as the role of uncertainty within CLT are discussed.

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Reaction times in ms for the three signal strength in Experiment 1.Signals were either presented in the distal or proximal location. Error bars refer to standard errors.
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pone.0119108.g003: Reaction times in ms for the three signal strength in Experiment 1.Signals were either presented in the distal or proximal location. Error bars refer to standard errors.

Mentions: An analysis of variance with repeated measures revealed a main effect of distance, F(1, 53) = 8.84, p = .004, η2 = .14, indicating that participants were indeed faster when the signal was presented in a near location (M = 423.63, SD = 118.79) vs. far location (M = 441.95, SD = 138.10). This finding corroborates Bar-Anan’s [22] finding and confirms our hypothesis that higher distance leads to feelings of uncertainty. Not surprisingly, there was also a main effect for signal strength, F(2, 106) = 95.33, p < .001, η2 = .64, showing that participants were faster when the signal was strong as compared to when the signal was weak or when there was only noise. The interaction effect between signal strength and distance was also significant, F(2, 106) = 3.76, p = .027, η2 = .07. Conducting separate planned comparisons for each signal strength revealed that there were significant differences in the predicted direction between near and far distance in the noise condition, t(53) = 3.75, p < .001, d = .22, and in the strong signal condition, t(53) = 3.15, p = .003, d = .20, but not in the weak signal condition, t(53) = .12, p = .91 (see Fig. 3). Thus, participants felt more uncertain and therefore needed longer to decide whether a signal was present or not when a strong signal or noise were displayed in the far as compared to the near distance. However, when the signal itself was weak, no difference in reaction time could be observed.


The long and winding road to uncertainty: the link between spatial distance and feelings of uncertainty.

Glaser T, Lewandowski J, Düsing J - PLoS ONE (2015)

Reaction times in ms for the three signal strength in Experiment 1.Signals were either presented in the distal or proximal location. Error bars refer to standard errors.
© Copyright Policy
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License
Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC4355588&req=5

pone.0119108.g003: Reaction times in ms for the three signal strength in Experiment 1.Signals were either presented in the distal or proximal location. Error bars refer to standard errors.
Mentions: An analysis of variance with repeated measures revealed a main effect of distance, F(1, 53) = 8.84, p = .004, η2 = .14, indicating that participants were indeed faster when the signal was presented in a near location (M = 423.63, SD = 118.79) vs. far location (M = 441.95, SD = 138.10). This finding corroborates Bar-Anan’s [22] finding and confirms our hypothesis that higher distance leads to feelings of uncertainty. Not surprisingly, there was also a main effect for signal strength, F(2, 106) = 95.33, p < .001, η2 = .64, showing that participants were faster when the signal was strong as compared to when the signal was weak or when there was only noise. The interaction effect between signal strength and distance was also significant, F(2, 106) = 3.76, p = .027, η2 = .07. Conducting separate planned comparisons for each signal strength revealed that there were significant differences in the predicted direction between near and far distance in the noise condition, t(53) = 3.75, p < .001, d = .22, and in the strong signal condition, t(53) = 3.15, p = .003, d = .20, but not in the weak signal condition, t(53) = .12, p = .91 (see Fig. 3). Thus, participants felt more uncertain and therefore needed longer to decide whether a signal was present or not when a strong signal or noise were displayed in the far as compared to the near distance. However, when the signal itself was weak, no difference in reaction time could be observed.

Bottom Line: The second experiment revealed that a feeling of uncertainty leads to a perception of greater distance.By demonstrating that distance is closely tied to uncertainty, the present research extends previous research on both distance and uncertainty by incorporating previously unexplained findings within CLT.Implications of these findings such as the role of uncertainty within CLT are discussed.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Department of Psychology, University of Bielefeld, Bielefeld, Germany.

ABSTRACT
Construal Level Theory (CLT) [1] defines psychological distance as any object, event, or person that cannot be experienced by the self in the here and now. The goal of the present research was to demonstrate that feelings of uncertainty are closely linked to the concept of psychological distance. Two experiments tested the assumption that spatial distance and uncertainty are bidirectionally related. In the first experiment, we show that perceived spatial distance leads to a feeling of uncertainty. The second experiment revealed that a feeling of uncertainty leads to a perception of greater distance. By demonstrating that distance is closely tied to uncertainty, the present research extends previous research on both distance and uncertainty by incorporating previously unexplained findings within CLT. Implications of these findings such as the role of uncertainty within CLT are discussed.

Show MeSH